Kenai Central’s Lexi Reis and Chelsea Plagge go up for a block Tuesday, Sept. 25, 2018, against Nikiski at Nikiski High School. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Kenai Central’s Lexi Reis and Chelsea Plagge go up for a block Tuesday, Sept. 25, 2018, against Nikiski at Nikiski High School. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Nikiski volleyball sweeps Kenai Central

The host Nikiski volleyball team showed off its experience and consistency in sweeping Kenai Central 25-15, 25-11 and 25-16 on Tuesday in Southcentral Conference play.

The Bulldogs improved to 3-1 in the league and 4-1 overall, while the Kardinals fell to 2-2 in the league and 4-2 overall.

At the season-opening Homer Jamboree, the Kardinals took a game off the Bulldogs in pool play. Kenai also took a game off the Bulldogs in losing the championship of the Shayna Pritchard Memorial Tournament in late August.

Tuesday, Nikiski didn’t get close to dropping a game.

“I think everybody played really well tonight,” Nikiski coach Stacey Segura said. “They were really consistent and that was one of our goals.”

Segura said she knew Kenai would do what it takes to get the ball back over the net. So she had the junior varsity play the varsity in practice, with instructions for the junior varsity to get the ball over the net at all costs and give the varsity a chance to practice against that.

The practice obviously worked, because Nikiski’s steadiness stood out to Kenai coach Tracie Beck.

“They’re just so consistent all the way around,” Beck said. “They don’t have a serve-receive or a rotation that is weak.”

While Nikiski has three seniors that start and have been through region championship matches and state matches, the Kardinals do not have a senior on the roster.

Beck said her team was doing a good job passing, but could not get the ball down against Nikiski’s defense.

“Our block was a little off, but we made up for it with our defense,” Segura said.

The three seniors for Nikiski played a starring role with Emma Wik collecting seven assists, four kills and two aces, Bethany Carstens getting seven kills and two blocks, and Kelsey Clark finishing with 15 digs and two aces.

Also for the Bulldogs, junior Kaitlyn Johnson had 10 digs, six assists and four aces, junior America Jeffreys had 12 digs and two aces, and junior Kaycee Bostic had five kills and a block.

Nikiski was in such command that Segura was able to mix in swingers from junior varsity in the second and third games. She said she had not planned on having that option against Kenai, and doesn’t expect it to happen again anytime in the near future.

“This isn’t going to be the same Kenai we play next time or the same Kenai we see at the end of the year,” Segura said. “They’re a young team that’s improving and I’m definitely looking out for them next year.”

Beck said her attackers are four sophomores and two juniors, so growing pains are expected. She said the nice thing about matches like this is the knowledge that all these players are gaining valuable experience and will be back next season.

“I didn’t have one senior on the floor,” Beck said. “They’re all going to just keep growing.”

Sophomore Lexi Reis had six kills for the Kardinals, while fellow sophomore Bethany Morris had five kills and three aces. Junior Jaiden Streiff had five kills and an ace, while freshman Jenna Streiff had 17 digs.

Both squads jump back into conference play Friday, when Nikiski hosts Houston at 5 p.m. and Kenai travels to Seward for a 5 p.m. showdown.

Nikiski’s Bethany Carstens attacks Tuesday, Sept. 25, 2018, against Kenai Central at Nikiski High School. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Nikiski’s Bethany Carstens attacks Tuesday, Sept. 25, 2018, against Kenai Central at Nikiski High School. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Nikiski’s Bethany Carstens and Kenai Central’s Abby Every joust for the ball Tuesday, Sept. 25, 2018, at Nikiski High School. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Nikiski’s Bethany Carstens and Kenai Central’s Abby Every joust for the ball Tuesday, Sept. 25, 2018, at Nikiski High School. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Nikiski’s Kaitlyn Johnson serves to Kenai Central on Tuesday, Sept. 25, 2018, at Nikiski High School. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Nikiski’s Kaitlyn Johnson serves to Kenai Central on Tuesday, Sept. 25, 2018, at Nikiski High School. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Kenai Central’s Jenna Streiff digs the ball against Nikiski on Tuesday, Sept. 25, 2018, at Nikiski High School. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Kenai Central’s Jenna Streiff digs the ball against Nikiski on Tuesday, Sept. 25, 2018, at Nikiski High School. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

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